As with most jobs that deal with the public, real estate agents often work with some difficult clients. You may already have had experiences with clients who have no idea what they want, are too picky about every property you show them, or are irritatingly arrogant and think they know everything about your job. How should you handle these clients without damaging your chances of making the sale?
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution because there are no two clients alike. However, some basic methods for dealing with people may help you bring out the best in your clients and forge constructive relationships that lead to positive transactions and future success for you.
In many cases, the behavior of a difficult client is a system of self-preservation, which is understandable in a high-stress situation like a real estate transaction. Buying or selling a home or other property means taking an expensive leap of faith, and making a mistake may result in years of frustration and struggle. So if some clients seem a little aloof, aggressive, indecisive or even angry, try to see things from their perspective by using the following methods:
- Being honest: Making false promises to assuage your clients or avoid losing a potential sale is not the way to win their trust.
- Setting expectations: Clients may not see the whole picture like you do, so it may reduce their stress if you let them know what to expect and how long each phase should take.
- Getting to know your client: The information clients give you about themselves, their goals, and their likes and dislikes can be invaluable for helping you connect with them.
- Asking the right questions: Using what you know about your clients, you may be able to narrow down the listings that may be right for them.
- Resisting the urge to get defensive: Know-it-all clients may get your dander up, but deep breaths and calm reasoning are often effective in softening their tone.
- Not taking it personally: When a client is arrogant, argumentative or even insulting, it may be a way of dealing with the stress and intimidation of the real estate process.
Above all, really listening may be one of the most effective ways to handle an uncooperative client. Buyers or sellers who feel they are little more than a commission to you may have trust issues that prevent them from opening up. Your sincere attention to their needs and wishes, your ability to remember what is important to them, and your genuine concern for their best interests may break through the hard exterior and put them at ease.